Why Briskers Can Afford to Be Stern All the Time

… R’ Zvi-Hirsh Appelbaum, a Torah scholar and dry goods merchant from Brisk, was exiled to Stoibtz during World War I, as was the Hazon-Ish. R’ Zvi-Hirsh helped the Hazon-Ish’s rebbitzen, Batya, in purchasing goods for her store, and even received permission from the Hazon-Ish to open a competing dry goods business. He became the Hazon-Ish’s talmid-havver [pupil-peer].
One summer night, the Hazon-Ish invited R’ Zvi-Hirsh to join him the following morning in a 4:00 A.M. swim in the Neman River. When they were in the water, the Hazon-Ish started to splash his companion playfully, and R’ Zvi-Hirsh asked him, “Rebbi, what is going on?” The master replied, “אויב מען קען שטיפען קען מען מחדש זיין [If you can frolic, you can create novellae (in Torah)].”

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